First Posted: 7/3/2013
Six Pittston City properties are currently taking advantage of the city’s façade improvement grant program, said Michael Lombardo of the city’s redevelopment authority.
The grants are awarded to businesses to visually improve the storefronts and must be matched, dollar for dollar.
The current round of properties are:
• The Sindaco property at 14 S. Main St., which includes a beauty shop on one side and a lottery ticket/coffee shop on the other.
• A Redevelopment Authority property at 12 S. Main St., which will be the home of a consignment shop owned by Tina Drahus.
• A Redevelopment Authority property at 107 S. Main St., the former Milazzo Hardware Building.
• Nick Malestro’s Tattoo shop at 10 So. Main St..
• Virginia DeSpritio Hair Fashions/Advance Beauty Supply building at 77 S. Main St..
• The Brunnell Building at Butler and Main Streets, which will soon house a business incubator.
Properties that have already been complete or are near completion include Lizza’s Mezzo Mezzo, the Red Mill, Sabatelle’s, Napoli Pizza, Pittston Dental and Fuji Sushi.
Future plans call for new facades on Fino’s Pharmacy, Rock Street Music, Sapphire Salon, Tropical Dreams tanning salon, Pittston Florist, All Four Paws dog grooming, the former Pittston Stove Building and Café Olivia.
The smallest grants were in the $1,500 range and the higher-end projects cost $15,000. All façade grants are contingent on matching funds from the business or building owner.
The grants are funded through the state Local Share Assessment program which uses revenues from casinos, Lombardo has said.
The applications are handled through Downtown Manager Rose Randazzo and awarded through the Design Review Committee, an arm of the redevelopment authority.
Lombardo said the plan is to put $100,000 a year of grant money into improvements with $85,000 going to facades and $15,000 to signs. Lombardo said the improvements could be as complex as necessary, ranging from a completely new front, like the Red Mill, to a new coat of paint, like Sabatelle’s.
In order to be approved for a façade grant, the building must be up to date on garbage and sewer fees and current on taxes.
The LSA account was established by the Pennsylvania Horse Race and Gaming Development Act and distributes cash generated by licensed gaming facilities operating in the state, including Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Plains Township, to local community and economic improvement projects.